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Trigger-happy or trigger-shy?

Sexual arousal doesn?t just happen out of the blue. Before you start to get turned on, your interest in sex needs to be activated. This is done by triggers that make us say, ?Mmmmm? ? I?m getting a sexual message here?. We then go from being unaroused to suddenly becoming QUITE INTERESTED!

Our attention then turns away from the day-to-day trivia (and serious stuff) that constantly fills our minds and we begin to consider the possibility of something sexual happening. At that moment we usually make a quick decision along the lines of, ?Yes, I think I could be interested in taking this further? or ?No, I?m not going down that track?. In other words, we decide whether we?re going to allow ourselves to get turned on, or instead, switch ourselves off. If we let ourselves stay interested, a warm, syrupy feeling of pleasure often follows, as we begin to get sexually aroused.

Some would say that men tend to be a bit too trigger-HAPPY and will always say ?yes? rather than ?no? when their sexual interest is activated (but I?ve also worked with men who weren?t the least bit interested in sex). On the other hand, women are often trigger-SHY. They?re quick to turn themselves off, and this may happen even when there?s no reason to do so (but, I?ve also worked with women who felt sexual at the drop of a hat).

Don?t know what triggers your sexual feelings? Don?t worry – you?re in good company because many women have never taken the time to understand what gets them turned on, which is partly why a lack of interest in sex is one of the most common sexual problems for women.

Let?s see if I can help you. Which kinds of sounds can get you sexually excited? Can you identify which tastes start you swooning? And what are the smells that get you sexually humming? Have you noticed how that gorgeous after-shave or perfume wafting through the office seems to activate your sexual nose-buds? And what about that glimpse of bare skin as Mr or Ms ?drop-dead-gorgeous? walks past (our sight sense). Perhaps you?re more of a ?touchy? type who just melts with pleasure when a finger slides sexily down your spine (touch sense).

Our senses can be sexual triggers. So too are certain types of people, situations and objects, as well as certain thoughts. What types of people arouse your sexual interest? Perhaps those with an infectious grin and great sense of humour do it for you. What types of objects trigger your sexual arousal (a large pile of cushions with me lying languidly on top is a favourite with me). How about types of situations (most women go for ?romantic?, but I?ve known a few who prefer ?taboo? situation).

And, finally, positive thoughts about sex, love or intimacy can be a powerful trigger to getting you in a sexual mood. Try remembering a really nice sexual moment and you may discover what I mean. Then repeat your reminiscing a couple more times throughout the day and watch the effect this can have.

A final point: take the time to understand your sexual triggers. If you don?t, who will? And, if you don?t know what gets you turned on, how?s your poor partner going to figure it out?


Dr Vivienne Cass
Clinical Psychologist and Sexual Therapist/Educator

To read more on sexual triggers see The Elusive Orgasm: A woman?s guide to why she can?t and how she can orgasm, by Dr Vivienne Cass (Brightfire Press). RRP $35 but only $31.50 if you buy from the SheSaid Bookshop